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Buffalo vs. Bison: What's the Difference?
Many people in the American West think the bison and the buffalo are the same but we are talking about two different animals here. Bison and buffalo are related in the sense that they are members of the same family. Both animals belong to the bovidae family as do other animals like the musk oxen and domestic cattle. The bison and the buffalo have many things in common but there are some differences between the former and the latter. So what is the difference between Bison vs buffalo? Let's dive in.
Understanding the bison
"Bison" is the scientific name for what most consider to be the "American buffalo". This was a term that was first given to these majestic creatures during the expedition of Lewis and Clark. The natural habitat of the bison covers most of the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. The two most popular categories of bison are the Wood Bison and the Plains Bison. These animals were nearly hunted to extinction by some of the first white settlers in the Americas but the bison survived and can still be found in many parts of the US today. Apart from the bison native to the Americas, some bison are native to Europe. The bison have been domesticated for many decades by American farmers and are raised primarily for bison meat, for it is extremely healthy and delicious! Private farming, public and tribal herds have helped to repopulate the species and now over 350,000 inhabit North America.
Understanding the buffalo
The buffalo falls into two main categories and these are the Water Buffalo and the Cape Buffalo. The water buffalo is also called the domesticated Asian Buffalo and it is found in Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe. The Cape Buffalo is found in the grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa and it is also called "Syncerus caffer". These animals can be found in West Africa and along the plains of southern and eastern Africa. Some of them have been domesticated for years and are valued for milk, meat, leather, and as work animals. It is also possible to find the Cape buffalo in the wild. These animals are dangerous and can gore people with their sharp horns.
Difference between buffalo and bison
As stated already both animals are bovids but there are differences in physical appearance. Generally, the buffalo has a larger body than the bison. The buffalo also has bigger horns. The bison has a larger head used to forage for feed during the winter months. The buffalo also has a smooth coat while the bison has a shaggy winter coat. The bison has stocky legs, and a hump on its back which helps hold the musculature of their large head.
Here at Yankee Farmer's Market, we raise pasture-raised 100% Bison (or what we like to call the American Buffalo) for its healthy meat and to promote sustainability in the species. It's a natural, delicious choice for health-conscious individuals and beef lovers everywhere as it tastes very similar to a sweet beef. We are proud to provide high quality, pasture-raised meats in a sustainable small farm setting. Call, visit, or shop online to enjoy our full line of New England all-natural, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free meats.